Inside the Lainya civil-military dialogue

By William Madouk

A three-day civil-military dialogue held in Lainya County of Central Equatoria State has ended with calls for enhancing relations for peaceful co-existence between the civilians and military.

The reconciliatory dialogue was organized by the Community Empowerment for Progress Organization (CEPO), and brought together over 50 participants from the community and the soldiers.

Malish John Scopas, CEPO’s project manager for Greater Yei, said the dialogue aimed at building trust and confidence between the Lainya civil population and the military.

“The dialogue facilitation was centered on a mediation approach where civilians and the military identified issues that affected their relations,” Malish said.

Scopas noted lack of mutual respect between civilians and military personnel including looting, harassment, killings, and roadblocks.

For his part, the deputy commander of the SSPDF in the area, Col. John Malou, described relations between the military and civilians as “peaceful.” one.

“Our relationship with civilians is good. We have been communicating and coordinating things together. It means we are at peace with one another, and our demand is the implementation of the peace agreement,” he said.

He urged the soldiers and military officer to continuously respect and protect civilians in the area.

The participants came out with eight key resolutions to strengthen peaceful coexistence among civil populations and army.

They resolved that both civilians and the military should strengthen their relationship to embrace the spirit of love, unity, forgiveness, and togetherness as citizens of South Sudan (defy hate speech)

Civil-Military Dialogue also resolved that incase of return of the armed cattle herders the government soldiers should take full Protection of civilian’s lives and properties.

Participants also agreed for early sharing of information between civilians and the military for realization of peaceful co-existence.

It recommended the County Local Government Administration to reduce the number of checkpoints/roadblocks to allow civilians freely transport the agricultural produce to the markets without incurring huge expenses.

Civil-Military Dialogue likewise resolved that Chiefs and the Army Commanders should regulate consumption of drugs (alcohol, opium) for peaceful and productive co-existence.

The Dialogue again, resolved that CEPO in Partnership with its Consortium members and in collaboration with the County Administration should conduct series of continuous civil- military dialogues to build trust and confidence as well as strengthening relationship between civilians and the military in other parts of Lainya county.

The dialogue recommended that CEPO and partners should advocate and lobby for the improvement of basic services to attract return and resettlement of the returnees. These services include food and Nonfood items (NFIs).

The Civil-Military Dialogue further resolved that Displaced Persons from Loka West, Loka Round, and Lokurubang Boma freely accept to return to their places of origin and urged for support from the County Administration and the Local Chiefs.

2016, clashes between SPLA-IO and government forces, coupled with the current National Salvation Front insurgency, led to mass displacement of the civil population in Lainya County.

Led by the International Organization for Migration (IOM) with support from the UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS), the Reconciliation, Stabilization and Resilience Trust Fund  (RSRTF) – is a project designed to help communities in Yei, Lainya, Morobo and Kajo-Keji counties reconcile and end violence, bring stability where they live and create new incentives for peaceful coexistence.

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